VIGILATEBritish Virgin Islands Environment Charter

Foreign Office Minister Baroness Amos and senior representatives of Overseas Territories signed a set of Environmental Charters on 26 September 2001. The Charters set out, for the first time the mutual responsibilities of the UK and Overseas Territories regarding the environment.  It also sets out ten Guiding Principles which express the key environmental commitments that the international community has adopted.

Guiding Principles

For the UK government, the government of the British Virgin Islands and for the people of the British Virgin Islands.

1) To recognise that all people need a healthy environment for their well-being and livelihoods and that all can help to conserve and sustain it.

2) To use our natural resources wisely, being fair to present and future generations.

3) To identify environmental opportunities, costs and risks in all policies and strategies.

4) To seek expert advice and to consult openly with interested parties on decisions affecting the environment.

5) To aim for solutions which benefit both the environment and development.

6) To contribute towards the protection and improvement of the global environment.

7) To safeguard and restore native species, habitats and landscape features, and control or eradicate invasive species.

8) To encourage activities and technologies that benefit the environment.

9) To control pollution, with the polluter paying for prevention or remedies.

10) To study and celebrate our environmental heritage as a treasure to share with our children.

For background on the Charter process please see the Forum website:

CITESConvention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora – CITES

Model Law on International Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora

According to Article VIII of the CITES Convention, the Parties shall take appropriate measures to enforce the provisions of the present Convention and to prohibit trade in specimens in violations thereof. These shall include measures to penalize trade in, or possession of, such specimens, or both; and to provide for the confiscation or return to the State of export of such specimens.

The lack of adequate national legislation for the implementation of the Convention is one of the most serious problems that some Parties face today. Nevertheless, the enforcement of CITES legislation is critical to ensure the effectiveness of the Convention. For this reason, the Secretariat has developed a Model Law that has been drawn up to respond to the needs of Parties that are preparing legislation to implement the Convention.

As its name suggests, the Model Law is only a pattern.  The form of national legislation and the terminology used vary according to legal traditions, administrative and governmental structures and other factors. Nevertheless, as far as possible, efforts have been made to propose model provisions that can be incorporated in a national law without any major changes.  The national law should be adapted to the laws governing related areas, notably wildlife legislation and environmental laws.


Click here for more information on CITES Model Legislation 

Click here to download A CITES PERMISSION FORM

St George’s Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability

The St George’s Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability is a commitment by OECS Member States to the actions necessary to achieve development goals in ways that ensure that environmental quality is maintained or improved.  The OECS Member States recognized the environment to which their development depends is threatened, and that broadly co-ordinated action is necessary to counteract these threats. In September 1999 at the Third Meeting of the Ministers of the Environment Policy Committee, it was requested that the OECS-NRMU prepare a document to outline which actions could be taken to ensure a healthy environment for the present and future generations on which economic development could be based. 

The international community has been highly supportive of this initiative and has applauded the Member States of the OECS for taking the initiative.    

Listed below are the 21 Principles of the St George’s Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability:

# 1 Better Quality Of Life for All
# 2 Integrated Development Planning
# 3 More Effective Laws and Institutions
# 4 Civil Society Participation in Decision-making
# 5 Meaningful Participation by the Private Sector
# 6 Economic Benefits from Environmental Management
# 7 Broad-based Environmental Education And Awareness
# 8 Preparation for Climate Change
# 9 Integrated Disaster Management
# 10 Preventing Air, Water and Land Pollution
# 11 Using Available Resources Wisely
# 12 Protecting Natural and Cultural Heritage
# 13 Protecting Plant and Animal Species
# 14 Sensible and Sustainable Trade
# 15 Cooperation in Science and Technology
# 16 Using Energy Efficiently
# 17 Joint Decision-making on International Environmental Agreements
# 18 Coordinated Work with the International Community
# 19 Putting the Principles to Work
# 20 Obligations of Member States
# 21 Review And Updating Of the Principles

Click here for more information on the St George’s Declaration of Principles.


The RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands

The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, is an intergovernmental treaty adopted on February 2nd, 1971 in the Iranian city of RAMSAR.  It has come to be known popularly as the RAMSAR Convention.

Originally emphasis was upon the conservation and wise use of wetlands primarily as habitat for waterbirds.  Over the years, however, the Convention has broadened its scope to cover all aspects of wetland conservation and wise use, recognizing wetlands as ecosystems that are extremely important for biodiversity conservation and for the well-being of human communities.  The Convention entered into force in 1975 and now has more than 100 Contracting Parties in all parts of the world.  Approximately 900 wetlands have been designated for inclusion in the list of Wetlands of International Importance, covering some 65 million hectares or 161 million acres.  The administration if the Convention is done by the IUCN – The World conservation Union in Switzerland.

Click here for more information on the RAMSAR Convention on wetlands.